A thirty-four year old man was working with a slab of granite on a table used for positioning and cutting stone slabs. This table rotates and rolls in order to accommodate the granite positioned for cutting. This table was manufactured to go hand-in-hand with a rolling A-frame, used to transport the stone onto the table while positioned vertically.
However, this table had no A-frame, and as a result, this man lowered a slab from a forklift, when it fell onto him, crushing his spine and forcing him to undergo an emergency decompression laminectomy and posterior fusion.
This injury has left him paralyzed, forced to use a wheelchair. His past medical expenses exceed $650,000. He seeks future medical expenses and lost earnings, as well as other damages. The manufacturers/distributors of this table argue that this man used the table without any incidents for free years, and that he was negligent, assuming the risk of injury by standing in between the forklift and the table. The victim alleges that the table was defectively designed and that they were liable for putting a defective product into the stream of commerce. He also contends that the table was sold without warnings or instructions.
Both parties settled for $7 million, which was the maximum amount available from the manufacturers’ insurance policy. In addition, Medicare has asserted a $175,000 lien.
When the accident occurred, this man was the co-owner of a marble and granite finishing company for kitchens and bathrooms. All of this work is labor-based, so he was not able to continue this work, and is now enrolled in college to become a teacher.
What do you think about this accident?